The NBA has officially opened a tampering investigation into the New York Knicks’ free agent pursuit, and the signing of former Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
The NBA has begun an investigation into the New York Knicks for alleged tampering regarding free agent pickup Jalen Brunson, sources inform @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 1, 2022
The NBA’s free agency period began at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. Teams cannot contact an agent or player to discuss a free agent contract before the period opens.
Media reports emerged before July 30, indicating Brunson already had a deal in place with the Knicks. Brunson ultimately agreed to a four-year, $104 million contract with the Knicks on the opening night of free agency.
Brunson was reportedly scheduled to meet with Mavericks representatives once the free agency period began to allow the team one last chance to convince him to re-sign.
However, Brunson met with only the Knicks once the signing period opened, who offered him the type of deal he sought.
Brunson has several ties to the Knicks organization. His dad, Rick, was recently hired as an assistant coach with the Knicks. His hiring reunites him with coach Tom Thibodeau, for whom Rick Brunson also served as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Rick also played for the Knicks in two stints from 1999-2001. Leon Rose, the Knicks’ current president of basketball operations, was a former player agent who landed Rick as his first client and is extremely close to the Brunson family.
Rose also represented Jalen Brunson at the beginning of his career and helped negotiate his rookie contract with the Mavericks. Now, Rose’s son, Sam, is Brunson’s agent with Creative Artists Agency.
Brunson, 25, is coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game. After joining the starting lineup full-time in December, he established himself as Dallas’ No. 2 option behind All-NBA guard Luka Doncic, his 2018 draft classmate.
Brunson helped lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 11 years, averaging 21.6 points per game during the playoffs. Over his four seasons in Dallas, Brunson averaged 11.9 points, 3.7 assists, and three rebounds per game.
If the Knicks are found guilty of tampering, their punishment would likely include the loss of a draft pick and a fine.
The NBA instituted harsher anti-tampering penalties in 2019, including raising the maximum fine for teams to $10 million and adding the possibility of suspending team executives, forfeiting draft picks, and even voiding contracts.
Last year, the NBA stripped the Bulls and Miami Heat each of a second-round pick for illegal early contact with free agents Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively, in 2021. The Milwaukee Bucks were stripped of a 2022 second-round pick for tampering in connection with Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic prior to the 2020 season.